Moroccan Media and Civil Society Leaders on MDI Tour to Switzerland

Dates:  1 – 7 November 2015

Country: Switzerland

Swiss_Tour_RTSThe concept of federalism preserving local characteristics and celebrating every kind of diversity works well in Switzerland. As Dr Nicolas Scmitt from Institute de Federalisme said, “Switzerland is a paradigm of diversity with 26 cantons and 4 official languages.” Therefore 17 leaders of Moroccan media and civil society, partners of the Media Diversity Institute (MDI), wanted to know how multiregional, multilingual and multicultural nature of the Swiss society and media can be compared if not adapted to North-African circumstances.

Moroccan leading media and civil society representatives coming from the national radio SNRT, Atlantic radio, Al Maghribia TV channel, 2M and Medi1, as well as from regulatory body HACA, national news agency MAP and organisations such as Damir, Karama and official governmental body for Human Rights, visited Switzerland on 1 – 7 November 2015. They talked to the representatives of the Swiss public radio and TV, private and regional media, Parliament, Institute for Federalism and leading journalism schools and universities. Supported by the Swiss Agency for Development Cooperation, MDI organised an exchange of ideas and experience between its Moroccan partners and their Swiss hosts.

MDI partners from Morocco attended editorial meetings at the national television RTS in Geneva and national radio RTS in Lausanne, discussing the topics of refugee crisis reporting, women’s representation in the media content and in the newsrooms, as well as reporting from the conflict zones and freedom of expression.

Swiss_Tour_2In a discussion with the editor-in-chief of RTS radio, some Moroccan decision makers were interested to know how diversity is preserved while making the programme. “We do care that regional and every other type of diversity is present in our programme and not violated. That means that we will not have only topics from the region of Lausanne in our programme, but from all over the country,” said the editor in chief of RTS.

During the visit of the national TV in Geneva, MDI’s Moroccan partners were told how civil society in Switzerland is developed and overall present and involved in many initiatives and issues of importance. One of the questions raised by the Moroccan civil society representative was on pluralism of opinions to which the Swiss host replied: “Pluralism here in Switzerland is guaranteed.”

Swiss_Tour_Leman_BleuNot only that the Moroccan decision makers had a chance to hear in more depth about the Swiss concept of multiregionalism, diversity and federalism and how they are put in practise, but on the other side, the audience of private TV channel in Geneva had a chance to learn more about Morocco.

Moroccan representatives were guests at TV Leman Blue talking about their society and the media, modern challenges and political circumstances.

You can watch the whole show on TV Leman Bleu here.

When asked about the main impressions from their trip to Switzerland, one of the participants responded: “I have been surprised to see that women also experience some problems here in Switzerland, especially as members of parliament or because of the way they are portrayed in the media”.

Professor Abdelouahhab Errami who together with MDI works on the project about women’s representation in the Moroccan media believes that “principle of direct democracy exercised in Switzerland has a real value.”

Professor of journalism Errami, as well as Abdellatif Lambaraa, director of national radio and television SNRT discussed the coexistence in a multiregional country such as Switzerland, as well as multilingual nature of the media. “We in Morocco have many media in Amazirgh language also,” said Lambaraa.

The visit to Switzerland has been organised as a part of the MDI project “Promoting Freedom of Expression, Diversity and Inclusion in Morocco” supported by the Swiss Agency for Development Cooperation.